The IMI diabetes platform - a new chapter in diabetes research



Frankfurt, Ingelheim, Lausanne, Lund, Paris, Dundee – 23rd September 2013.
IMIDIA, DIRECT and SUMMIT take a key step forward to further strengthen European diabetes research. Today the three diabetes Public-Private Partnerships within the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) announce the signature of their Memorandum of Understanding. The formation of this “IMI Diabetes Platform” enables the tight interaction across these collaborative research projects. With a combined budget of 100 Mio € and the involvement of over 300 leading experts in diabetes, this is one of the world’s leading initiatives in this area focusing on overcoming key bottlenecks for novel therapies and improved disease management.

Today around 371 million diabetic patients are estimated worldwide. This number is expected to rise to 552 million by 2030, making diabetes an increasing burden both for society and healthcare systems and hence one of the biggest social economic challenges of our time.

Although current symptomatic treatment has improved substantially over recent decades, there still remains an urgent need for

  • - slowing down disease progression and ultimately finding a cure for diabetes1
  • - better understanding and addressing of the heterogeneity of diabetes2
  • - better treatment and prevention of severe diabetic complications3

IMIDIA, DIRECT and SUMMIT are taking on these challenges by successfully delivering key contributions in their respective key focus areas.

The Memorandum of Understanding announced today provides the framework for taking these collaborative activities one step further - leading to the bundling of expertise, knowledge and findings across the projects. It further supports the scientists contributing to the three projects to meet the challenges of this pandemic disease in one of the most holistic discovery approaches in diabetes research to date. The joint effort of more than 300 clinicians and scientists from industry, academia and biotech is dedicated to developing game-changing solutions for the generation of reliable tools for early diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression. This will pave the way to the development of novel medicines for the treatment of diabetes and its complications, and ultimately developing a cure for the disease.

“Reaching such a new level of cross-consortium collaboration opportunities strongly improves the scientific power of our endeavours to faster develop better and safer medicines for diabetes care.” the representatives of the coordinating pharmaceutical companies4 unanimously agree.

“The importance of the findings of the IMI diabetes projects will be strongly increased by the multiple opportunities for information exchange now enabled by the implementation of a formal collaboration framework for the IMI Diabetes Platform”, confirm their academic counterparts5.”

By aligning their efforts in Europe’s biggest Public-Private Partnership in diabetes research so far - the IMI Diabetes platform - IMIDIA, DIRECT and SUMMIT - jointly underline their dedication to overcome today’s key hurdles on the way to better medications for diabetes and its severe complications.

Objectives of the IMI Diabetes platform and recent results from the IMI diabetes consortia IMIDIA, DIRECT and SUMMIT were presented at the first joint symposium of the IMI Diabetes platform on the occasion of the 49th Annual meeting of the EASD in Barcelona.

About the IMI Diabetes Platform:

- Improving beta-cell function and identification of diagnostic biomarkers for treatment monitoring of diabetes

The IMIDIA team, coordinated by Sanofi, Servier and the University of Lausanne together with 6 other pharma partners and 12 academic institutions/biotech companies is working on the generation of novel, patient centric tools, biomarkers, and fundamental knowledge of ß-cell organization to accelerate the path to improved diabetes management and ultimately pave the way to curing diabetes.
For further details – please visit:

- Diabetes research in patient stratification

The DIRECT team, coordinated by Sanofi, Eli Lilly and the University of Dundee together with 2 other pharma partners and 19 academic institutions/biotech companies is working on the identification and validation of biomarkers to improve treatment of Type 2 Diabetes with either existing or novel therapies.
For further details – please visit:

- Surrogate markers for micro- and macrovascular hard endpoints for innovative diabetes tools

The SUMMIT team coordinated by Boehringer-Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Lund University and the University of Dundee together with 4 other pharma partners and 18 academic institutions/biotech companies is working towards developing innovative approaches to make clinical trial testing of novel medications in diabetic vascular complications (cardio vascular disease, nephropathy, and retinopathy) faster and more efficient.
For further details – please visit:

About IMI:

With a €2bn budget, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is the world’s largest Public-Private Partnership in health. IMI was set up in 2008 with the goals of speeding up the development of safer and more effective medicines for patients and boosting the competitiveness of Europe’s pharmaceutical sector.
Through its collaborative projects that bring together experts from industry, academia, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient groups, and regulators, IMI aims to develop tools and technologies that will speed up the development of safer and better drugs for patients.
Today, IMI is widely recognised as a pioneer of open collaboration, a novel way of working that is radically changing the shape of the pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) landscape.
IMI has launched 40 projects to date. For further information, please visit


IMIDIA: Peter Hecht Tel: +43 664 2826383
DIRECT: Bernd Jablonka Tel: +49 69 305 5955
SUMMIT: Markus Albertini Tel: +49 7351 549 7371


1 IMIDIA research focus
2 DIRECT research focus
3 SUMMIT research focus
4 Werner Kramer (Sanofi/DE), Hartmut Rütten (Sanofi/DE), Michael Mark (Boehringer-Ingelheim/DE), Alain Ktorza (Servier/FR), Veikko Koivisto (Eli Lilly/UK), Birgit Steckel-Hamann (Eli Lilly/UK)
5 Bernard Thorens (University of Lausanne/CH), Ewan Pearson (University of Dundee/UK), Leif Groop (Lund University/SE), Helen Colhoun (University of Dundee/UK)